By Dominic Toner
Jamie Redknapp has compared Dimitri Payet to David Beckham with his sensational free-kicks.
The France playmaker has demonstrated consistent excellence from set pieces during his year-and-a-bit at West Ham and added Accrington to his long list of victims on Wednesday in the EFL Cup third-round.
Payet, 29, scored a stunning free-kick in the 96th minute to secure a 1-0 win against the League Two side to secure the struggling Londoners a last-16 tie against Chelsea.
Ex-Liverpool player Redknapp has compared the Frenchman to England great Beckham.
“I see kids on a Sunday morning trying to copy the ‘knuckleball’ method used by Cristiano Ronaldo – where hitting the ball on the valve causes it to move unpredictably.” Redknapp wrote in the Mail. “But Payet’s technique is a throwback to the way David Beckham would take them, generating curl and whip with the instep.
“He gets his body at such an angle that he also creates topspin to make the ball dip, like a table tennis shot, which makes the keeper think it’s going over until it flies in under the bar.”
Beckham was one of the best free-kick takers in the world throughout his playing career and he is fondly remembered by England supporters for his goal against Greece in 2001, which took the nation through to the World Cup.
Payet has a better free-kick record than Cristiano Ronaldo in the last year, having scored five since August 2-1, with Lionel Messi and Willian the only players to score more.
West Ham have endured a miserable start to the new season and will be dependant on Payet reaching top form.
The France international joined the Hammers from Marseille last summer and has gone on to score 15 goals and provide 21 assists in just 47 games under Slaven Bilic.
The Hammers currently sit in the relegation zone after five games, having lost four matches as they struggle to adjust to their new London Stadium.
In other West Ham news, the club’s fans have urged an unexpected former player to return.